The Homebirth of a Rainbow Baby

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[A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.  Just like a rainbow following a storm, renewing hope.]

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I was 411/2 weeks pregnant and very ready for this baby to be on the outside.  No matter how adamant I am about babies coming on their own time, I was looking for that magic trick that would make me go into labor, because I was ready!  I was anxious.  My birthing area was taunting me every day.  And my belly was very very large.  I was having prodromal labor from about 35 weeks (irregular contractions that do not go away with change in position, activity, or food/drinks like braxtons do but they also aren’t real labor contractions). This baby, just like his brother and sister, was still floating high in my belly and was not engaged in my pelvis at all.  My midwife was not concerned about being past due and was very reassuring that this baby WOULD eventually come out.  That Friday night I prayed a prayer much different than the previous nights, where I was begging God and Mother Mary to help this baby move down and start labor.  That night I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for this new life and I gave my anxiety over to Him and accepted His will.  I felt much at peace after that prayer.  I knew I’d have my baby on Sunday.  Divine Mercy Sunday.

Saturday morning I lost my mucus plug and contractions started to feel real.  They were about 20 minutes apart.  I made breakfast, cleaned the house, then took a nap.  I woke up, made dinner, put the kids to bed, then turned on the TV and bounced on the birth ball.  I told Adam to go to bed because one of us had to be rested if this was going to end up being a 3 day labor, like Caroline.  Contractions were about every 10 minutes.  I was very tired and ready to sleep but it wasn’t possible at this point.  I watched TV while pacing the floor or bouncing on the ball until I couldn’t concentrate on the TV any longer.  It was around 11pm.  I turned on the computer and put on a playlist of the Divine Mercy Chaplet in song, along with a handful of other hymns.  I sang along when I could and meditated through contractions.  While I was pregnant I made a list of intentions to pray for during labor, friends and family going through rough times to offer my labor pains up for.  It really was wonderful to have something outside of myself to help me with labor.  Having intentions and prayers to focus on also kept me from having stupid songs randomly on repeat in my head.

At 1 am I called my midwife and told her that contractions were about every 5 minutes, but I was still coping well alone and she did not have to come yet.

I found a lot of comfort being on my hands and knees during labor and I’d lounge back and rest on a pile of pillows in between contractions.

At 4:30 am I called my midwife and told her to make her way over.  I knew I was in transition.  Some contractions were back to back some were 2 minutes apart.

She arrived around 5am and quietly got her things set up, she took my BP and the baby’s heart beat.  She felt my belly to see what position baby was in and how far down he was.  No internal checks.  Having her presence was wonderful and her touch was just what I needed.

Around 6 am Adam woke up and came to see how things were progressing.  At this point I was getting very mad at the pain and I was very emotional.  When I saw Adam, I clung to him in a big embrace, and he gave me the strength that I needed.

I was fully dilated soon after that and felt a little pushy, but not much.  My water hadn’t broken yet either.  I  did not feel like pushing, but my midwife and her assistant were telling me to push with the pain, so I did.  It was awful.  I got in a lot of different positions but nothing felt right (anyone see a pattern here?)  My water finally did break and it had very light meconium stain.  Then at some point at the end of those two horrible, hot, sweaty hours the baby moved into the birth canal and came out in a contraction or two.  I was on my hands and knees.  Adam announced, with much excitement, which part of the baby’s head/face he saw as baby was being born.  It was so sweet.  Then my midwife and Adam caught baby and passed him to me.  I saw he was a boy right away.  We rubbed him and talked to him.  He let out a big cry.  Samuel Frederick was born at 8:27am on Divine Mercy Sunday.  My shortest labor.

I sat back and snuggled him while my Midwife did a few checks and cleaned some things up.  When his cord stopped pulsing, it was tied and cut.  The placenta came out.  I got into bed to relax and Samuel got measured and weighed.  I passed a few clots and a ton of blood, which has been typical for me.  I felt fine.  Actually, I felt better once it all came out.  My midwife asked if I wanted a shot of pitocin to help with the blood, I said no, unless she felt like it was the best thing to do.  I took a few droppers full of “after ease” and Shepherds purse herbal tincture instead.  Everything was well.

My Mother in law came and took the big kids to her house once they woke up ( I was still in labor) and she brought them back after Samuel was born and things had gotten cleaned up.  We all snuggled Sammy and took some pictures.

Adam and Caroline had such emotionally charged births.  Adams birth was traumatic and led to postpartum depression.  Carolines birth was empowering and led to a major “birth high” that left me excited and in love with the whole birth experience for weeks.  Samuel’s birth was how I feel birth is meant to be.  Just birth.  Simple but beautiful.  It wasn’t hyped up, it wasn’t downplayed.  I didn’t have to stress out over being in charge of everything.  I had the right help to make it easy and relaxing for me.   My body went into labor on it’s own and took it’s time moving my baby into the world.  It was hard work, I had to do it, but it was worth it.  And now, a month after his birth, I feel grounded.  I’m here.  Present.  Not sad or still in the clouds.  I love every second of being a mom to these three beautiful children.  Samuel, himself, is also the perfect mix between my two older children, in looks and in temperament.

He has brought balance. And so much love.  Even the earth seemed to rejoice with me in his birth, coming to life in blossoms, green grass, and sunny skies!

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Pregnancy with Samuel

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Right in the middle of summer I conceived Samuel.  Right in time to be exhausted and nauseous for harvesting and putting up veggies from the garden (but I’m very happy to say that I managed to do enough to last us through the fall and most of the winter)  I had a very busy first trimester and it flew by in a flash.  Then with my second trimester came winter time and I was so thankful for the rest.  It also came time to tell my family that I was expecting.  Some of them already had suspicions because my dear daughter kept talking about babies in bellies and may or may not have put a couple of steamed shrimp down her shirt at dinner one night to pretend that they were her babies in her belly.  Regardless, it was nice to have that secret.  It was a happy and stress-free time.

This pregnancy was pretty uneventful.  It went by quickly with no problems.  However at my first appointment with a midwife team that I was interviewing, they said I was measuring very big, 2 months bigger.  One of the midwives suspected twins, the other suspected a fibroid.  So I went for an ultrasound at 18 weeks to figure everything out.  Just one baby who was measuring right on track and no fibroid.  All that fuss for nothing.  So I found myself a new midwife.  Which was a blessing and a huge relief.  I was on the fence about having a midwife to being with.  After doing everything myself with my last birth, the idea of trusting someone else to make judgments about my labor was a little scary for me.  Then when those two midwives were totally wrong about just the size of my uterus, it was the icing on my cake of doubt. But in the end, if I could have a midwife this time, I would.  So I kept looking.  And an amazing midwife showed up and put everything to ease.

I didn’t have any crazy cravings.  I wasn’t too emotional.  My blood pressure actually got lower as my pregnancy progressed.  My body felt good.  It was a very balanced and simple pregnancy.  It went by very quickly.  Until the last month anyway.  But no surprise there.

My Little Ray

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[ I like going by the rule of not announcing a pregnancy until into the 13th week, because not all pregnancies are permanent in the first trimester, and it’s easier and less heartbreaking to deal with a loss in private instead of having to let 100+ people know while something so tragic is happening.  But I also believe that every stage of life is important and beautiful and in need of recognition. Therefore, I share my story and the story of my lost child. ]

And so it goes, I was pregnant and miscarried two times in seven months.

My first miscarriage was the product of a failed pregnancy, otherwise knows as a blighted ovum.  I was “pregnant” with every symptom for 12 weeks before my body noticed I wasn’t actually growing a baby and miscarried.  Recovery took about 6 weeks.

Three months later I conceived!  I got a positive pregnancy test very early on and my belly started to feel full, neither of which was the case during my last pregnancy.  I was very excited and hopeful,  but the scare of another miscarriage was still a concern.  I was only a little bit nauseous but had a lot of food aversions and I was very emotional all.the.time.  I was also plagued with fatigue and constantly had to pee!  But I was also like that with my blighted ovum.  So who knows?   I was 7 weeks pregnant when I noticed some of my symptoms go away and then I had two days of horrible nausea, cramps, backache, and heartburn.  A few days passed in which I felt fine, then I had an upset stomach again, and on one trip to the bathroom I saw some blood.  It wasn’t bright red, so I thought it might just be some spotting caused by my upset stomach.  But over the evening it got heavier and brighter and my heart sank.  I was sure the same thing was happening again.  A blighted ovum.  So I just prepared myself for what I knew was coming and prayed that it would happen fast, instead of dragging on for a week like last time.

The next day contractions started.  When they became fast and painful I went to the bathroom and drew a bath.  Like last time, Caroline was on my heels and she wanted a bath too!  But I was already in and she was out with a poopy diaper so I wasn’t too thrilled about that.  But  regardless, I wasn’t going to have her scream at me the whole time, so I stripped her down and wiped her butt the best I could and plopped her in the water with me.  Then with the splashing and the toys and the poop and the blood, it was just way too gross. I got out, drained the water, and slowly filled the tub again for her while I sat on the toilet.  The contractions weren’t as hard this time, probably because I knew what to expect.  And the blood wasn’t as free flowing this time either.  I felt the pressure on my bottom and knew that it would be over soon.  I did not want it to come out in the toilet, but it did.  I debated for a while if I was going to scoop it out or just flush it.  But I knew I would regret flushing it, especially if it wasn’t a blighted ovum.  I got up and cleaned myself off.  I got Caroline out of the tub and dried her off.  Then I sent her running naked around the house.  Conveniently there was a plastic straw laying on the floor, so I used that to push the toilet paper out of the way and push the sac to the surface.  I scooped it out and noticed that it was a lot bigger than it was last time and when I turned it around in my hand I saw the baby.  Little black eyes, stubby little fingers and toes,  still translucent.  I was shocked and numb to see that there was actually a baby.  I laid my baby in a pretty glass bowl.  And went to snuggle my kids on the couch.

We wanted to name our baby, but a girls name didn’t seem fitting, neither did a boys name, and neither did a unisex name.  So I figured we’d just name it after the Patron Saint of miscarriages.   Adam suggested to name the baby after my Pappy, Raymond.  And while searching for the Saint, I found that St. Raymond is the patron saint of pregnant women, childbirth, and children.   And so “Ray”mond seemed to be the perfect, almost divine, name for our lost baby.

I wanted to heal from this as fast as I could (unlike last time, which was fall harvest, so I was apple picking and garlic planting just days after) so I didn’t do much other than sit around for 2 weeks.  I had a lot of support and it was a very relaxing/healing time for me.  I healed fast and started doing things to heal my uterus from both of these miscarriages.  I did Maya abdominal massages, to make sure my uterus was in the correct position ( did you know that 90% of women have a displaced uterus?!)  I also took some herbal bathes, did meditations,  and ate more nourishing foods.

It’s been two months.  We just buried Raymond and the products of my blighted ovum this past weekend under a newly planted tree (it was in the freezer) I said a prayer and told him that I would see him in heaven one day.  It wasn’t very ceremonial or emotional but it was a relief to let him go. I’ll love him and think of him forever,  but I cannot hold onto grief.

An Update

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I said that I’d update everyone on how long I bled for after my miscarriage, but when it stopped, about 2 weeks later, I found myself in and out of depression and everything I wrote was sad.  When I wrote my original story, I was at peace with what had happened.  That peace seemed to come and go for a while. Like they say, “live in the past and you’ll be depressed, live in the future and you’ll be anxious, live in the present and you’ll be at peace”.  I still went through postpartum symptoms: hair loss, hormones, and itchy breasts to boot. Those things were hard to deal with. Those pesky hormones had me weeping all the time.   Also, I was battling a upper respiratory/sinus infection which left me with awful sinus headaches, loss of smell/taste, and a bad cough.  My body felt like a war zone.  My cold started a few days before my miscarriage and it raged on for a good month and a half before dying down into just sniffles and a little cough, that I still have now.  I was eating whole lemons covered in honey and sauteing garlic cloves in olive oil and eating them whole (lemons and honey are fantastic cold soothers and garlic is a natural antibiotic)  Since I was sick with a cold, I was worried that my uterus wasn’t healing properly because so much was going on with my body.  But thankfully, my uterus seemed to heal faster than my cold did.  Looking back, I’m impressed that I functioned as well as I did.  I should have taken time to rest, but every time I sat down my mind ran straight to sad thoughts.  Luckily, I have connections to an apple orchard and I was able to collect 4 free bushels of apples, so that kept me busy, and happy.

I’m currently experiencing my first period post miscarriage.  It’s more painful and heavier than my periods usually are, but so are most first periods postpartum.

After I shared my story, I heard from a lot of women who had experienced miscarriage, thanking me for sharing.  It was heart warming and saddening to hear these responses.  Miscarriage is a huge loss, even in my situation.  Too many women have to experience this.  I’m just very glad that I already have two healthy children.  I will never take them for granted.  Hopefully I’ll be blessed with more.

Natural Miscarriage of a Blighted Ovum

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Only two months after my return to fertility (which was a whole 10 months after Carolines’  birth, thank you breastfeeding!) I started noticing pregnancy symptoms.  I couldn’t stop eating! I was so tired! I didn’t want to be touched or talked to! Ahh!  Okay, it really wasn’t that bad…but I knew something was up.  I knew exactly when I had ovulated and I knew that’s exactly the time when Adam and I were feeling extra intimate. So I knew there was a HUGE likely hood of pregnancy.

I took about 3 pregnancy tests in 7 weeks and they all were negative and I believed them, despite my other symptoms,  for the simple fact that my belly just didn’t feel pregnant.  But then the nausea hit and I knew for sure I was.  At 8 weeks I finally got a positive reading!  Which is really late for me, my other pregnancies were “officially” made known almost instantly.  But regardless of that, our family started making adjustments for the upcoming baby!  And I actually found a midwife who was willing to do a home birth with me despite Maryland’s law against home birth midwives!  However, I tried to find some connection to the new baby in my belly, but there just wasn’t one.  With my other pregnancies I felt a strong connection to each of them very early on.  I even had an idea of what gender they were (which has been right both times!)  Nothing with this one.  But every baby is different, every pregnancy is different.  the connection will come, I told myself.

At exactly 12 weeks, I went to the bathroom and saw blood.  A good amount of blood.  Not spotting.  Bleeding. “No No No No” I said shaking my head over and over again. Not this.  But when bleeding starts, there is no stopping it.  I knew I was miscarrying.  I pulled myself together and told Adam what was happening.  Then I googled “natural miscarriage”.  I had only a vague idea of what was involved in a miscarriage.  No one talks about it.  I knew that I didn’t not want a D&C    ( Just the thought of someone artificially opening my cervix and scrapping my insides out made me never want to spread my legs again!)  and I knew that it might take a few days before the baby came out.  But that’s pretty much all I knew.  The stories online that I found were horror stories.  Lots of blood and so much pain.  Great.  I was scared. I was so sad. I was mad.  I felt so guilty for not making my baby feel welcome enough in my belly.  I was so sorry for killing my baby.

During the next three days I was just bleeding like a normal period and I had absolutely no cramps.  “Maybe my baby is just fine, Maybe i’m just bleeding a little bit, that happens sometimes, right?”  “Maybe I have an ectopic pregnancy and I’m going to die any second”  ” when did my baby die, why did it die?”  “when will the pain start?”  so many questions and fears went through my mind.  I was mad with emotion.  I just wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Friday afternoon the pain started, low pinchy cramps.  Blood started flowing faster.  Contractions came every 30 seconds and lasted for 30 seconds.  I was too uncomfortable to sit.  Or stand.  I told Adam he better come home now because I didn’t know how fast or slow this process would be.  Then I went to lay down with Caroline while she was waking up from her nap and I gathered myself together.  I told my body that I trusted it.  I told me body to let my baby out.  I told me body it had permission to do what it needed to do.  I surrendered to what was happening.

I came downstairs to four silly crazy kids ( I babysit a few extras) who wanted snacks, wanted to color, wanted to watch TV and I was just about to go crazy.  Where was my husband!  The bath tub was already calling my name.  But sitting on the toilet would have to do until he got home.  Caroline was feeling my distress and wouldn’t let me alone.  Then next thing I knew there was a knock at the door!  It was L here to pick up her kids, but she was an 1 1/2 early, so I wasn’t expecting her at all.  However I’m very thankful that L lets herself  in because I wasn’t being fast about getting out of the bathroom!  After saying goodbye to the kid I called Adam to see where he was at then headed back to the bathroom as fast as I could.

The contractions came so fast and so strong.  I found myself rocking and humming.  Then I heard Adams’ wonderful voice as he picked Caroline up and took her out of the room.  I got off the toilet, threw some towels on the floor, then eased into the hot water of the bath tub.   Instant relief!  The tub water soon turned red and the next thing I knew I was giving little pushes.  It amazed me that I still felt so much pressure on my bottom for not even delivering a full sized baby!  The sac came first (that’s where the baby grows)  Then the placenta.  Both were about the size of an extra large chicken egg.  The pain stopped immediately and was soon forgotten.

There I was sitting in a messy tub just staring at the “products of conception” that I had just birthed.  My dead baby hiding somewhere in the yolk sac.  Swaying gently in the water just like it did in my belly.  It was very emotional.  I sobbed to myself trying to gather up the courage to scoop it out of the water and say goodbye to my baby.  Would it be deformed?  How big would it be?  Could I handle seeing it’s little fingers, nose, and toes?  I knew that to fully heal from this I had to look.  I had to hold it. I had to say goodbye.  I looked about the bathroom trying to find something perfect to lay everything in.  I had wanted to grab one of my nice antique bowls for the occasion, but I forgot to.  The only thing was an ugly orange plastic bowl.  I scooped the placenta up first.  It was perfect and whole.  I wasn’t expecting that.  All the stories I read said that the placenta doesn’t completely form until the 4th month.  All the women said that it came out in pieces.  Mine didn’t.  It was perfect.  The fact that it was perfect made me sad.  Big sigh.  Then I picked up the sac.  Very strange.  I looked all around.  Inside and out.  Where was the baby?  The baby grows here.  There is no baby!  I searched the bathtub.  Nothing but Blood and clots floating around.  How can there not be a baby?  How could I have been pregnant for 12 weeks without a baby growing?   I mean, I never had an ultrasound or heard a heartbeat so I guess it’s possible.  How strangely wonderful.

I called out to Adam to see what time it was.  Only  45 minutes had passed since I felt the first twinge of pain.  I was amazed at how fast it had happened.  I got into the shower to rinse and wash.  Wrapped myself in my rob and stood about for a while.  I asked Adam if he wanted to see anything.  He came in and I explained what happened.  I remembered reading about this type of thing, but the miscarriage usually happened a lot earlier.  Sometimes before one even knew she was pregnant.  I cleaned up the towels, flushed the toilet, and drained the tub.  I emailed my midwife and searched the internet for a while.  We both came up with the same conclusion.  Blighted Ovum.

Sperm meets egg.  Pregnancy starts.  Hormones are sent out.  Placenta grows.  Sac grows.  Baby doesn’t.  Either sperm is infertile or egg is.  Since I had just returned to fertility, it is very possible that my egg was infertile.  The body usually sends out a few infertile eggs to get things “up and running” after a pregnancy.  So much makes sense now!  I never felt like there was a baby in my belly.  Because there wasn’t.  What wonderful intuition I have!  A sense of peace overcame me.  Happiness.  Thankfulness.  Gods plan is greater than all else.

I’d really like to reiterate that although this was an awful experience, it was not the horror that I had read about.  The pain wasn’t unbearable .  It was not scary.  The blood loss wasn’t terrible.  If there is anyone reading this who is going through a similar situation, trust your body, let it be.  My thoughts and love are with you.

I’m still bleeding now, 3 days after my miscarriage.  I expect to continue period type bleeding for a while.  And occasional cramps and a sore cervix.  I’ll update when the bleeding stops.

Through all the sadness of this last week, there were some very good things that happened.  Obviously the fact that there was no baby is a joy, but we still have to morn the loss of a baby either way.  The real good that came from this is the affirmation that my body knows what it’s doing.  My intuition is strong and I’m in tune with it.  And best of all…the love and compassion I felt from my family.  The hugs, the tears, the kind words.  It’s breathtaking.   And I’m very blessed.

The Unassisted Home Birth of Caroline Anne

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I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions around 20 weeks and over the course of the following 21 weeks they got stronger and closer together.   At 30 weeks they were coming once every hour.  Yay! My uterus was getting ready for delivery!  By 35 weeks the contractions changed in intensity and came about every 45 minutes.  I thought for sure I’d go into labor early!  The house was always spotless at the end of the day.  My home birth kit and plan was ready.  My hospital bag and hospital birth plan was ready.  Every night I went to bed thinking I’d wake up in labor.  Then 40 weeks came and went .  Besides the contractions I didn’t have any other sign of labor.  I tried pretty much everything to get the baby to drop and start real labor: spicy food, walking and yoga, sex, pineapple… From my prenatal visits I knew I was 1 cm dilated but baby was still pretty high (just like Adam!)  My Dr. started talking about non stress test, ultrasounds and  induction.  Everything I was dreading.  All of my family and friends kept anxiously asking when baby would come,  like I actually had a say in the matter.  I was getting stressed out and emotional.  I wanted my baby to be born just as much as everyone else, but I certainly wasn’t going to let them induce me.  I agreed to an ultrasound to check how baby was doing and amniotic fluid levels.  Everything came back perfectly fine, so I just waited some more.  After the ultrasound I didn’t schedule any more appointments with my OB.  If I went to 42 weeks, I’d go back.  But for the next two weeks I just wanted to hibernate at home and relax my body and mind.

On Friday, September 7th,  I hit the 41 week mark.  That night Adam and I tried one more time to start labor.  In the early morning on Saturday I woke up a few times with sharp contractions.  I didn’t get excited because I was used to having contractions, I did admit that these contractions were different though.  When we all woke up around 8am,  I went to the bathroom and lost some mucous plug.  Contractions started coming every 3-5 minutes.  I made breakfast, did the dishes, vacuumed, and got the birth kit out and organized through the contractions.  I just went about my day normally.  I called my mom to let her know that things were starting and to pray for me.  I eventually got tired of walking around and bouncing on my birthing ball so I went to take a nap.  Contractions stayed 3-5 minutes apart but never got any stronger.  The rest of the day past by and it was time for bed.  I got little Adam all tucked in and told Big Adam to just go to bed also.  Then I went  back downstairs to labor in peace.  Contractions picked up and started becoming uncomfortable.  Adam decided he didn’t want to sleep and came back downstairs to be with me.  All night I labored, in many different positions, even in the bath tub. I tried to get some rest but the contractions were too uncomfortable for that.  I had a lot of back labor.

As soon as the sun came up on Sunday the 9th and little Adam got out of bed, my contractions slowed way down.  They spaced out to every 15-20 minutes and stayed at the same strength.  I was so annoyed! All the work I did the past 24 hours and still nothing?!  Audrey came over with food for us and then took little Adam home with her for a few hours.  Sunday went by and night came again.  As soon as the moon was up my contractions picked up again, 3-5 mins apart and uncomfortable, I got no rest.  The sun came up on Monday the 10th and my contractions slowed again.  I talked to my mom and told her I was tired of laboring like this, and she said “Well if you go to the hospital now, you know what they’ll do.”  Yes I did.  Since I was almost 2 weeks overdue and I’d been stuck in labor for the past 2 days, they’d push pitocin and maybe even a c-section. I didn’t want anything to do with either of those options so I decided to stick it out one more day.  (I’d just like to add that I’d been checking baby’s heartbeat every hour and it was always strong and regular)  Monday was such a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. Audrey, Zach, and Landon were here taking care of things and keeping us company.  They made us food and kept things tidy.  My contractions started picking up in intensity and I had to brace myself and concentrate through them.  Everyone left the house and left me alone for a few hours and things got even stronger.  Monday night I secluded myself in my “birth space” which was the bathroom/playroom area in our house.  It was around 8pm when I knew for sure that the baby would be in my arms soon.  I stayed up-right the whole time.  My belly, butt, back and thighs ached.  I walked, danced, rolled my hips, rocked on my chair.  I felt so centered and connected to my baby and body the whole time.  I had no one there to “check me” and tell me how dilated I was, but I knew.  I felt myself open up, I felt my baby move down.  When things got really intense I’d stand in the door jam and push my back up against the frame and sink into a semi-squat.   I said to myself “open, open” again and again.  It helped me focus through the strong waves.  In between contractions I sat down on the glider chair and just rocked, as soon as a contraction started I had to jump up as fast as I could before I got “stuck” on the chair from the pain. I tried the bath tub again, and the water felt amazing!  But I couldn’t be in any position other than semi-reclined so I didn’t stay in there long.  Adam was with me near the end, he’d massage my hands and that would help me relax.  He’d tell me I was doing a good job, and I wanted to laugh because I KNEW I was doing a good job.  I felt great.  Contractions were intense and consumed every fiber of my being,  but never once did I think they were too painful.  Never once did the hospital cross my mind.  Never once did I want pain relief.  Never once did I want more support.   The things that bothered me the most during labor was that my mouth was so dry and I was so thirsty but water just didn’t quench my thirst.  My body would also flash between really cold and very hot.  I kept thinking how labor would be so much easier if I didn’t have a huge belly hindering my movement!  And unfortunately I had the worst song stuck in my head on repeat- “Bones” from the Bubble Guppies (one of my toddlers favorite shows) it goes, “Got a bunch of bones inside me, got a bunch of bones inside me, yeah, a whole bunch of bones that everyone owns underneath the skin that we’re in” I was constantly reminding myself that I had a bunch of bones inside me (baby) that I’d have to push out!

Around midnight on September 11th, I vocalized that I was done with labor.  I’d had enough, it was becoming too intense.  I was shaky and queasy.  I vomited, probably helping my body push that last bit of cervix out of the way.  Right after that, I knew I was fully dilated and ready to push my baby out.  My contractions slowed down and I could actually come out of “labor land”.  However, I just didn’t have the urge to push.  I gave a few sad attempts of a push in hopes my body would kick in and the expulsion contractions would start, but they didn’t.  My water hadn’t broken at this point yet either and I figured that was the reason I wasn’t ready to push yet, so I reached inside myself  to try to break the bag, but the film was too tight and I couldn’t.  My “thinking” mind kicked in and I started to worry.  My mind was running all over the place, and  I ignored what my body was telling me, which was just to rest.  Adam tried finding baby’s heartbeat a few times but he couldn’t and I was getting frustrated with him, the pain, and myself!  I took the stethoscope and soon found the heartbeat.  It was a little on the fast side, so I wanted to get her out soon.  Finally, after an hour and a half of craziness,  I decided I was done.  I wasn’t going to try anymore.  This baby wasn’t coming out.  I sat down and rested.  Then pop! My water broke!  My poor body just wanted to rest after three days of labor!  After it broke, I was ready to really push.  I got into a squat on the floor and soon my body just took over.  Audrey came into the room at that point and supported me as I pushed.  It was hard work, but it felt so GOOD.  Everything was happening so fast at that point. I put my hand down to feel what was happening.  Her head felt squishy and I thought it was her butt, but Adam confirmed it was her head.  I pushed with all my might to get her out.  Out she gushed covered in blood and amniotic fluid right between my legs, all in one contraction.  I sat back  and scooped her up. I lifted her to my chest and heard some mucous in her throat so I turned her onto her belly with her head lower than the rest of her body and rubbed her back.  She was breathing and pinking right up. I lifted her back to my chest and she let out a little cry then settled back down.  Oh and YES she is a girl!  I handed Caroline to Audrey as I checked out my blood loss and got a little more comfortable.  The amount of “blood” was alarming until I realized that most of it was amniotic fluid since only a tiny bit came out when my water broke.  I felt fine, not a tad bit tired or dizzy.  Adam got the towels and blankets warm out of the dryer and wrapped her up and gave her back to me.  After her cord was done pulsing and had turned white, we tied it with sterile gauze and cut it with sterilized scissors.  Adam took her and I got onto the bed to push the placenta out.  With my next contraction it came out,  Audrey looked it over and it was whole.  I took some shepherds purse tincture (which helps with bleeding) and I made sure my uterus was starting to harden and shrink.   After that I made my way to the shower and rinsed off.

After my shower Caroline and I got settled on the couch and she started nursing right away!  I drank some orange juice and ate some chicken soup.  I was in awe and amazement over what just happened, and the beautiful baby girl in my arms!  I was the first one to touch her.  She was never taken away from me and put on a table by herself.  She never had a syringe shoved up her nose and in her mouth. She was never stabbed or poked with needles or had unnecessary goop put in her eyes.  She was fresh out of the womb undisturbed.  She never once cried from pain or anger.  To this day, she is peaceful and sweet.  She sleeps and eats wonderfully.  She hardly cries.

While I was nursing, we called my mom, who was on the verge of tears with happiness, then we called Adam’s mom.   Audrey took care of the clean up.  Most of the “mess” was caught on chux pads and towels.  The bed had plastic on it under the sheet.  The floor did get messy in a few spots though, as well as the shower and tub. There was mostly just lots of laundry to do.

We didn’t actually look at the clock until we cut Caroline’s cord, but we determined she was born at 2:15am.  While I was in the shower they weighed her at 7lbs 12 oz.  After she nursed for the first time, we measured her at 20 inches.

Both her eyes were a little bloodshot from being pushed out so fast, but other than that she was perfect right from the start.  When she was 3 days old I had a midwife come over and give her a proper check up.  She was already up to 8lbs and healthy as could be.  Five days after her birth a woman from the Dept. of Health stopped by to do birth certificate paper work. We never once had to leave home :)

As for me, right after I gave birth I felt wonderful!  I was a little sore “down there” but I had so much energy, I was so happy!  I instantly fell in love with my daughter.  The next day, my muscles were sore from the work of labor and my bottom was still a little sore.  By the  3rd day I felt completely normal.  My bottom was itchy because it was healing, but I was not sore at all.  My nipples were sore from establishing breastfeeding, but that’s it.  Oh, and I had the weird feeling of my organs shifting back into there proper place .  I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt, especially comparing it to Adam’s birth and recovery.  It took me two months then to feel as great as I felt in two days this time.  Comparing this fast recovery to my last, is enough reason in itself to have a natural delivery.  The pain and discomfort of a 3 day labor is much better than the pain and discomfort of an 8 week healing time.

I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about what I accomplished.  I’m so happy with the way every thing went.  Even though I was in labor for 3 whole days, I don’t consider that labor was very painful and unbearable, only uncomfortable.  I never felt exhausted.  I’d go through all that again in a heart beat.  I only wish I would have listened to my body and rested instead of worrying during that last  2 hours.  It also would have been nice to have a Midwife there to reassure me that my body knew what it was doing, and also to take the stress off of Adam and Audrey.  They were worried that I’d lost too much blood and were a little too “rush, rush” with everything.  I felt fine, I knew I was fine, I knew Caroline was fine.  I just wanted to take things slow.

This was the right way for ME to give birth this time.  I’ll have a home birth again in a heart beat if I have a healthy pregnancy and my intuition doesn’t tell me differently.  Hopefully by the time we have more babies, if we do, Maryland won’t be so hostile towards Midwives.

Pregnancy with Caroline

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I started having “baby fever” in August so we started trying to conceive baby number 2!  By December I was pregnant :)  I was 2 weeks along when I realized I was pregnant with Caroline.  I just knew it, I felt it all through my body.  Around 4 weeks I took a pregnancy test and It was positive!  I was excited, but in a different way then when I was pregnant with Adam.  I was a little mournful that it wouldn’t just be he and I any longer.  Life was once again going to change.

I had some morning sickness in the first 10 weeks.  After that, and until around week 25, I didn’t feel pregnant at all.  I didn’t gain much weight and I was too busy running after Adam to think about it.  Around 30 weeks we moved into our house. I did all the packing and unpacking, and most likely over did it.  After that my pregnant body never felt good.  My hips, pelvis, and butt hurt so bad I had to stop most of my prenatal yoga.  Walking hurt, sitting hurt, sleeping hurt.  I was ready to not be pregnant any more and to have my baby in my arms.

I was a little more  lenient with what I ate this time, I still ate clean, but I wasn’t as paranoid that I was going to poison my baby with “no-no” foods.  I craved bagels and cream cheese, I’m sure that’s were the weight I put on came from…

I knew that this birth would not be like Adam’s, I had too much knowledge to let that happen again.  Thanks to my sister and her home birth in the first month of my pregnancy, I already knew two great home birth midwives and a doula.  I scheduled an appointment with one of the midwives, everything went great and I was looking forward to seeing more of her.  However, as it turned out, Maryland doesn’t like home birth midwives.  They are in the process of making it illegal for midwives to attend home births.  Can you believe that?  Want an abortion? We’ll help you any way we can, it’s your body , your choice!  But want to give birth to your baby at home?!? OMG no way is that happening! So Anni, my midwife, was uncomfortable seeing me any longer and said there was no way I could have a home birth.  She offered that I give birth in her house, which is in PA, but I was uncomfortable with that.   I was heart broken that I couldn’t have a home birth after all the preparation I’d done.  I decided then and there that I’d have to go to extremes…that meaning a hospital birth.  l battled back and forth over which direction I would take, whether I’d try for a natural hospital birth or if I’d just let the doctors win and have an epidural and all that goes with it.  In the long run, I knew I could never subject myself (or my baby) to an epidural.  So I started the hunt for a hospital midwife where my chances of a natural birth would be higher than with an OB.  There is a birthing center about 2 hours from where we live in MD but other than that, the hospitals don’t even have Midwives. I had to go to PA to find a hospital midwife.  My first appointment with a midwife was with York hospital.  After I explained what I wanted to her and told her Adam’s birth story, she told me to just schedule a C-section.  She said that since I had such a hard time delivering a 7 lb baby my body could never naturally deliver a baby any heavier than that.  I was floored.  Pissed.  How could a MIDWIFE say that?  I don’t even think an OB would tell me to just have a c-section.  Needless to say I high tailed it out of there as fast as I could…in tears.  I was already half way through my pregnancy at this point with absolutely no idea where I would give birth.

At this point, the thought crossed my mind to just have this baby at home anyway, with no one there besides me.  I thought that was crazy and pushed it out of my mind.  For a little while.

I found another midwife at Hanover hospital and decided to check her out.  She was so sweet and told me everything I wanted to hear.   I decided to go with her.  Turns out though that I’ll get anyone who is on call at the time of my delivery.  There was only a 1 in 6 chance that I’d even have her deliver.  Whatever, I didn’t care. I needed some place to go for prenatal check ups.  I eventually saw every OB there, but never the midwife, for my appointments.

I started researching more about unassisted childbirth, which is also called “free birthing”.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  Home birth without any medical managing. No midwife.  To my surprise, there are a lot of women who do this.  There is also A LOT of information about it online, in books, everywhere.  I ordered several books from Amazon and read them all, read every single unassisted childbirth story I could get my hands on, talked to many women online who had done this, and made it a point to know everything about birth inside-out.  I did so much praying, soul searching, reading, researching, you name it-I did it.  I spent a lot of time inside myself, talking to my baby, listening to my intuition.  I felt that this was the right thing to do.  I continued to see the doctors at Hanover hospital, but I also started doing my own prenatal care.  I bough a stethoscope to hear baby’s heart beat and I kept track of my own health.  I took my pregnancy into my own hands, I took full responsibility.

I talked to Adam about it, and he was on bored.  I talked to my mom and sister briefly about it.  Besides that, I didn’t really tell anyone my plan.  I wasn’t being sneaky or lying. I was making sure there was not one negative thought in my head that could hinder my ability to give birth.  I didn’t need people questioning me.  Trust me, I already had all those questions and I found the answers.  I didn’t need to defend myself.  I knew what I was doing, I knew risks and the benefits.  I also still left in the possibility of going to the hospital to deliver.  I was prepared for both.  I knew for sure that I would labor at home as long as I could, and if something inside me told me to go to the hospital then I would.  I gathered birth supplies over the next few months and prepared a birth plan.